ResearchPad - united-kingdom https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Antimicrobial resistance associations with national primary care antibiotic stewardship policy: Primary care-based, multilevel analytic study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14609 Recent UK antibiotic stewardship policies have resulted in significant changes in primary care dispensing, but whether this has impacted antimicrobial resistance is unknown.AimTo evaluate associations between changes in primary care dispensing and antimicrobial resistance in community-acquired urinary Escherichia coli infections.MethodsMultilevel logistic regression modelling investigating relationships between primary care practice level antibiotic dispensing for approximately 1.5 million patients in South West England and resistance in 152,704 community-acquired urinary E. coli between 2013 and 2016. Relationships presented for within and subsequent quarter drug-bug pairs, adjusted for patient age, deprivation, and rurality.ResultsIn line with national trends, overall antibiotic dispensing per 1000 registered patients fell 11%. Amoxicillin fell 14%, cefalexin 20%, ciprofloxacin 24%, co-amoxiclav 49% and trimethoprim 8%. Nitrofurantoin increased 7%. Antibiotic reductions were associated with reduced within quarter same-antibiotic resistance to: amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin and trimethoprim. Subsequent quarter reduced resistance was observed for trimethoprim and amoxicillin. Antibiotic dispensing reductions were associated with increased within and subsequent quarter resistance to cefalexin and co-amoxiclav. Increased nitrofurantoin dispensing was associated with reduced within and subsequent quarter trimethoprim resistance without affecting nitrofurantoin resistance.ConclusionsThis evaluation of a national primary care stewardship policy on antimicrobial resistance in the community suggests both hoped-for benefits and unexpected harms. Some increase in resistance to cefalexin and co-amoxiclav could result from residual confounding. Randomised controlled trials are urgently required to investigate causality. ]]> <![CDATA[Regional variations in geographic access to inpatient hospices and Place of death: A Population-based study in England, UK]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N0789e4f1-219e-494f-9677-036e019c10b6

Background

There is much variation in hospice use with respect to geographic factors such as area-based deprivation, location of patient’s residence and proximity to services location. However, little is known about how the association between geographic access to inpatient hospice and hospice deaths varies by patients’ region of settlement.

Study aim

To examine regional differences in the association between geographic access to inpatient hospice and hospice deaths.

Methods

A regional population-based observational study in England, UK. Records of patients aged ≥ 25 years (n = 123088) who died from non-accidental causes in 2014, were extracted from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) death registry. Our cohort comprised of patients who died at home and in inpatient hospice. Decedents were allocated to each of the nine government office regions of England (London, East Midlands, West Midlands, East, Yorkshire and The Humber, South West, South East, North West and North East) through record linkage with their postcode of usual residence. We defined geographic access as a measure of drive times from patients’ residential location to the nearest inpatient hospice. A modified Poisson regression estimated the association between geographic access to hospice, comparing hospice deaths (1) versus home deaths (0). We developed nine regional specific models and adjusted for regional differences in patient’s clinical & socio-demographic characteristics. The strength of the association was estimated with adjusted Proportional Ratios (aPRs).

Findings

The percentage of deaths varied across regions (home: 86.7% in the North East to 73.0% in the South East; hospice: 13.3% in the North East to 27.0% in the South East). We found wide differences in geographic access to inpatient hospices across regions. Median drive times to hospice varied from 4.6 minutes in London to 25.9 minutes in the North East. We found a dose-response association in the East: (aPRs: 0.22–0.78); East Midlands: (aPRs: 0.33–0.63); North East (aPRs: 0.19–0.87); North West (aPRs: 0.69–0.88); South West (aPRs: 0.56–0.89) and West Midlands (aPRs: 0.28–0.92) indicating that decedents who lived further away from hospices locations (≥ 10 minutes) were less likely to die in a hospice.

Conclusion

The clear dose-response associations in six regions underscore the importance of regional specific initiatives to improve and optimise access to hospices. Commissioners and policymakers need to do more to ensure that home death is not due to limited geographic access to inpatient hospice care.

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<![CDATA[Human-to-Human Transmission of Monkeypox Virus, United Kingdom, October 2018]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N6ebc713b-7bb7-4695-8a53-2ced0fdd2bc8

In September 2018, monkeypox virus was transmitted from a patient to a healthcare worker in the United Kingdom. Transmission was probably through contact with contaminated bedding. Infection control precautions for contacts (vaccination, daily monitoring, staying home from work) were implemented. Of 134 potential contacts, 4 became ill; all patients survived.

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<![CDATA[Significant cardiac disease complicating Graves’ disease in previously healthy young adults]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N799f442a-dba1-4542-ab7b-3253ae1ef914

Summary

Graves’ disease is associated with tachydysrythmia, cardiac ischaemia and cardiomyopathy – all uncommon in young adults without previous cardiac disease. We present three young individuals who developed cardiac complications after periods of uncontrolled Graves’ disease. Subject 1: A 34-year-old female had severe thyrotoxic symptoms for weeks. Investigations showed fT4: 98.4 (11–25 pmol/L), fT3: 46.9 (3.1–6.8 pmol/L), TSH <0.01 (0.27–4.2 mU/L) and thyrotrophin receptor antibody (TRAb): 34.8 (<0.9 U//l). She had appropriate treatment but several weeks later she became breathless despite improving thyroid function. Echocardiography showed a pericardial effusion of 2.9 cm. She responded well to steroids and NSAIDs but developed active severe Graves’ orbitopathy after early total thyroidectomy. Subject 2: A 28-year-old male developed thyrotoxic symptoms (fT4: 38 pmol/L, fT3: 13.9 pmol/L, TSH <0.01 (for over 6 months) and TRAb: 9.3 U/L). One month after starting carbimazole, he developed acute heart failure (HF) due to severe dilated cardiomyopathy – EF 10–15%. He partially recovered after treatment – EF 28% and had early radioiodine treatment. Subject 3: A 42-year-old woman who had been thyrotoxic for several months (fT4: 54.3; fT3 >46.1; TSH <0.01; TRAb: 4.5) developed atrial fibrillation (AF) and heart failure. Echocardiography showed cardiomegaly – EF 29%. She maintains sinus rhythm following early total thyroidectomy (EF 50%). Significant cardiac complications may occur in previously fit young adults, who have had uncontrolled Graves’ disease for weeks to months. Cardiac function recovers in the majority, but early definitive treatment should be discussed to avoid Graves’ disease relapse and further cardiac decompensation.

Learning points:

  • Cardiac complications of Graves’ disease are uncommon in young adults without previous cardiac disease.

  • These complications may however occur if Graves’ disease had been poorly controlled for several weeks or months prior to presentation.

  • Persistent symptoms after adequate control should alert clinicians to the possibility of cardiac disease.

  • Specific treatment of Graves’ disease and appropriate cardiac intervention results in complete recovery in the majority and carries a good prognosis.

  • Early definitive treatment should be offered to them to prevent cardiac decompensation at times of further relapse.

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<![CDATA[Population density and temperature correlate with long-term trends in somatic growth rates and maturation schedules of herring and sprat]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c89775ed5eed0c4847d2b47

We examine long-term trends in the average growth rates and maturation schedules of herring and sprat populations using survey data collected from the North Sea and west of Scotland since the 1960s and 1980s respectively. Otolith age data and maturity data are used to calculate time series of mean lengths at age, von Bertalanffy growth parameters, and probabilistic maturation reaction norms. As the growth and maturation of fish is known to be influenced by temperature and stock abundances, we account for these variables using Generalised Additive Models. Each of the herring populations displayed either steady declines in mean length across multiple age groups, or declines in length followed years later by some recovery. Depending on region, lengths at age of sprat increased or decreased over time. Varying temporal trends in maturation propensity at age and length were observed across herring populations. Many of the trends in growth rate and maturation were correlated to population abundance and/or temperature. In general, abundance is shown to be negatively correlated to growth rates in herring and sprat, and positively correlated with maturation propensity in herring. Temperature is also shown to be correlated to growth and maturation, and although the effect is consistent within species, the temperature effects differ between herring and sprat. This study provides detailed information about long-term trends in growth and maturation, which is lacking for some of these pelagic stocks, especially in the west of Scotland.

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<![CDATA[Soil health pilot study in England: Outcomes from an on-farm earthworm survey]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c76fe56d5eed0c484e5b8f1

Earthworms are primary candidates for national soil health monitoring as they are ecosystem engineers that benefit both food production and ecosystem services associated with soil security. Supporting farmers to monitor soil health could help to achieve the policy aspiration of sustainable soils by 2030 in England; however, little is known about how to overcome participation barriers, appropriate methodologies (practical, cost-effective, usefulness) or training needs. This paper presents the results from a pilot #60minworms study which mobilised farmers to assess over >1300 ha farmland soils in spring 2018. The results interpretation framework is based on the presence of earthworms from each of the three ecological groups at each observation (20 x 20 cm x 20 cm pit) and spatially across a field (10 soil pits). Results showed that most fields have basic earthworm presence and abundance, but 42% fields may be over-worked as indicated by absence/rarity of epigeic and/or anecic earthworms. Tillage had a negative impact (p < 0.05) on earthworm populations and organic matter management did not mitigate tillage impacts. In terms of farmer participation, Twitter and Farmers Weekly magazine were highly effective channels for recruitment. Direct feedback from participants included excellent scores in trust, value and satisfaction of the protocol (e.g. 100% would do the test again) and 57% would use their worm survey results to change their soil management practices. A key training need in terms of earthworm identification skills was reported. The trade-off between data quality, participation rates and fieldwork costs suggests there is potential to streamline the protocol further to #30minworms (5 pits), incurring farmer fieldwork costs of approximately £1.48 ha-1. At national scales, £14 million pounds across 4.7 M ha-1 in fieldwork costs per survey could be saved by farmer participation.

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<![CDATA[Associations between socio-economic factors and alcohol consumption: A population survey of adults in England]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e91ed5eed0c48496f828

Aim

To gain a better understanding of the complex relationships of different measures of social position, educational level and income with alcohol consumption in England.

Method

Between March 2014 and April 2018 data were collected on n = 57,807 alcohol drinkers in England taking part in the Alcohol Toolkit Study (ATS). Respondents completed the AUDIT-C measure of frequency of alcohol consumption, amount consumed on a typical day and binge drinking frequency. The first two questions were used to derive a secondary measure of quantity: average weekly unit consumption. Socio-economic factors measured were: social-grade (based on occupation), employment status, educational qualifications, home and car ownership and income. Models were constructed using ridge regression to assess the contribution of each predictor taking account of high collinearity. Models were adjusted for age, gender and ethnicity.

Results

The strongest predictor of frequency of alcohol consumption was social-grade. Those in the two lowest occupational categories of social grade (e.g. semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers, and unemployed, pensioners, casual workers) has fewer drinking occasions than those in professional-managerial occupations (β = -0.29, 95%CI -0.34 to -0.25; β = -0.31, 95%CI -0.33 to -0.29). The strongest predictor of consumed volume and binge drinking frequency was lower educational attainment: those whose highest qualification was an A-level (i.e. college/high school qualification) drank substantially more on a typical day (β = 0.28, 95%CI 0.25 to 0.31) and had a higher weekly unit intake (β = 3.55, 95%CI 3.04 to 4.05) than those with a university qualification. They also reported a higher frequency of binge drinking (β = 0.11, 95%CI 0.09 to 0.14). Housing tenure was a strong predictor of all drinking outcomes, while employment status and car ownership were the weakest predictors of most outcomes.

Conclusion

Social-grade and educational attainment appear to be the strongest socioeconomic predictors of alcohol consumption indices in England, followed closely by housing tenure. Employment status and car ownership have the lowest predictive power.

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<![CDATA[Marriage and physical capability at mid to later life in England and the USA]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c52180cd5eed0c484796c52

Background

Married people have lower rates of mortality and report better physical and mental health at older ages, compared to their unmarried counterparts. However, there is limited evidence on the association between marriage and physical capability, the ability to carry out the tasks of daily living, which is predictive of future mortality and social care use. We investigate the association between marital status and physical capability at mid to later life in England and the United States.

Methods

We examine the association between marriage and physical capability at mid to later life in England and the USA using two performance-based measures of physical capability: grip strength and walking speed. Multiple linear regression was carried out on Wave 4 (2008) of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and Waves 8 and 9 (2006 and 2008) of the US Health and Retirement Study (HRS).

Results

In age adjusted models married men and women had better physical capability than their unmarried counterparts. Much of the marriage advantage was explained by the greater wealth of married people. However, remarried men were found to have stronger grip strength and widowed and never married men had a slower walking speed than men in their first marriage, which was not explained by wealth, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, health behaviours, chronic disease or depressive symptoms. There were no differences in the association between England and the USA.

Conclusions

Marriage may be an important factor in maintaining physical capability in both England and the USA, particularly because of the greater wealth which married people have accrued by the time they reach older ages. The grip strength advantage for remarried men may be due to unobserved selective factors into remarriage.

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<![CDATA[Regional differences in mental health stigma—Analysis of nationally representative data from the Health Survey for England, 2014]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c50c488d5eed0c4845e8896

Background

Mental health stigma persists despite coordinated and widely-evaluated interventions. Socioeconomic, structural, and regional context may be important in shaping attitudes to mental illness, and response to stigma interventions. Regional differences in attitudes towards mental illness could be relevant for intervention, but have not been systematically explored. We evaluated regional variation in mental health stigma using nationally representative data from England, the Health Survey for England (HSE), from 2014.

Methods

A previously derived scale for mental health-related attitudes with 2 factors (i. tolerance and support, ii. prejudice and exclusion), and overall attitudes, were outcomes. Weighted linear regressions estimated contribution of individual characteristics and region of residence to inter-individual variability in mental health-related attitudes.

Results

London and southern regions tended to have more negative mental health-related attitudes. These differences were not fully or consistently explained by individual sociodemographic characteristics, or personal familiarity with mental illness.

Conclusions

Stigma policies could require refinements based on geographic setting. Regions may be in particular need of stigma interventions, or be more resistant to them. Regional differences might be related to media coverage of mental illness, funding differences, service availability, or accessibility of educational opportunities. Greater geographic detail is necessary to examine reasons for regional variation in stigmatizing attitudes towards people with mental illness, for example through multilevel analysis.

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<![CDATA[Who’s opting-in? A demographic analysis of the U.K. NHS Organ Donor Register]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3667d3d5eed0c4841a65ba

The NHS Organ Donor Register (NHS ODR) is a centralised database for U.K. residents wishing to be organ donors. Opt-in membership to the NHS ODR demonstrates an expression of a wish to donate, which can be key in decisions made by family members at time of death. By examining the demographic breakdown of the 24.9 million registrants, campaigns can be better targeted to increase membership among those groups underrepresented on the NHS ODR. Data from the NHS ODR (as of March 2017) was analysed using Chi2 Goodness of Fit analyses and Chi2 Test of Independence for the categorical variables of gender, nation of residency at time of registration, ethnicity, organ preference, registration age and age at registration. Goodness of fit analyses showed significant differences between demographic representation on the NHS ODR compared to the U.K. population. Cramer’s V showed significant associations were only of note (above 0.1) for age, ethnicity in the U.K. as a whole and ethnicity in England. Older (70+) and younger people (0–14) were underrepresented and those of White Ethnicity overrepresented on the NHS ODR. Although association strength was weak, more women and less residents of England were present compared to the U.K. population. Tests of independence showed significant differences between age at registration and current age on the register and cornea donation preferences. These results indicate areas for targeting by campaigns to increase NHS ODR membership. By understanding the strength of these associations, resources can be utilised in areas where underrepresentation is larger and will have the most impact to demographics of the NHS ODR. Additionally, by identifying which groups are over and underrepresented, future research can explore the reasons for this in these demographic groups.

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<![CDATA[Understanding the burden of bacterial sexually transmitted infections and Trichomonas vaginalis among black Caribbeans in the United Kingdom: Findings from a systematic review]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c141e90d5eed0c484d272f7

Background

In the UK, people of black Caribbean (BC) ethnicity continue to be disproportionately affected by bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and Trichomonas vaginalis (TV). We systematically reviewed evidence on the association between bacterial STIs/TV and ethnicity (BC compared to white/white British (WB)) accounting for other risk factors; and differences between these two ethnic groups in the prevalence of risk factors associated with these STIs, sexual healthcare seeking behaviours, and contextual factors influencing STI risk.

Methods

Studies presenting relevant evidence for participants aged ≥14 years and living in the UK were eligible for inclusion. A pre-defined search strategy informed by the inclusion criteria was developed. Eleven electronic databases were searched from the start date to September-October 2016. Two researchers independently screened articles, extracted data using a standardised proforma and resolved discrepancies in discussion with a third researcher. Descriptive summaries of evidence are presented. Meta-analyses were not conducted due to variation in study designs. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines were followed.

Results

Of 3815 abstracts identified, 15 articles reporting quantitative data were eligible and included in the review. No qualitative studies examining contextual drivers of STI risk among people of BC ethnicity were identified. Compared to the white/WB ethnic group, the greater STI/TV risk among BCs was partially explained by variations in socio-demographic factors, sexual behaviours, and recreational drug use. The prevalence of reporting early sexual debut (<16 years), concurrency, and multiple partners was higher among BC men compared to white/WB men; however, no such differences were observed for women. People of BC ethnicity were more likely to access sexual health services than those of white/WB ethnicity.

Conclusions

Further research is needed to explore other drivers of the sustained higher STI/TV prevalence among people of BC ethnicity. Developing holistic, tailored interventions that address STI risk and target people of BC ethnicity, especially men, could enhance STI prevention.

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<![CDATA[A molecular, morphological, and physiological comparison of English and German populations of Calliphora vicina (Diptera: Calliphoridae)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0ed75ad5eed0c484f13fa1

The bluebottle blow fly Calliphora vicina is a common species distributed throughout Europe that can play an important role as forensic evidence in crime investigations. Developmental rates of C. vicina from distinct populations from Germany and England were compared under different temperature regimes to explore the use of growth data from different geographical regions for local case work. Wing morphometrics and molecular analysis between these populations were also studied as indicators for biological differences. One colony each of German and English C. vicina were cultured at the Institute of Legal Medicine in Frankfurt, Germany. Three different temperature regimes were applied, two constant (16°C & 25°C) and one variable (17–26°C, room temperature = RT). At seven time points (600, 850, 1200, 1450, 1800, 2050, and 2400 accumulated degree hours), larval lengths were measured; additionally, the durations of the post feeding stage and intrapuparial metamorphosis were recorded. For the morphometric and molecular study, 184 females and 133 males from each C. vicina population (Germany n = 3, England n = 4) were sampled. Right wings were measured based on 19 landmarks and analyzed using canonical variates analysis and discriminant function analysis. DNA was isolated from three legs per specimen (n = 61) using 5% chelex. A 784 bp long fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene was sequenced; sequences were aligned and phylogenetically analyzed. Similar larval growth rates of C. vicina were found from different geographic populations at different temperatures during the major part of development. Nevertheless, because minor differences were found a wider range of temperatures and sampling more time points should be analyzed to obtain more information relevant for forensic case work. Wing shape variation showed a difference between the German and English populations (P<0.0001). However, separation between the seven German and English populations at the smaller geographic scale remained ambiguous. Molecular phylogenetic analysis by maximum likelihood method could not unambiguously separate the different geographic populations at a national (Germany vs England) or local level.

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<![CDATA[A statistical framework for radiation dose estimation with uncertainty quantification from the γ-H2AX assay]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c23ffdcd5eed0c48409419e

Over the last decade, the γ–H2AX focus assay, which exploits the phosphorylation of the H2AX histone following DNA double–strand–breaks, has made considerable progress towards acceptance as a reliable biomarker for exposure to ionizing radiation. While the existing literature has convincingly demonstrated a dose–response effect, and also presented approaches to dose estimation based on appropriately defined calibration curves, a more widespread practical use is still hampered by a certain lack of discussion and agreement on the specific dose–response modelling and uncertainty quantification strategies, as well as by the unavailability of implementations. This manuscript intends to fill these gaps, by stating explicitly the statistical models and techniques required for calibration curve estimation and subsequent dose estimation. Accompanying this article, a web applet has been produced which implements the discussed methods.

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<![CDATA[Using machine learning to investigate self-medication purchasing in England via high street retailer loyalty card data]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bfc627bd5eed0c484ec98e5

The availability alongside growing awareness of medicine has led to increased self-treatment of minor ailments. Self-medication is where one ‘self’ diagnoses and prescribes over the counter medicines for treatment. The self-care movement has important policy implications, perceived to relieve the National Health Service (NHS) burden, increasing patient subsistence and freeing resources for more serious ailments. However, there has been little research exploring how self-medication behaviours vary between population groups due to a lack of available data. The aim of our study is to evaluate how high street retailer loyalty card data can help inform our understanding of how individuals self-medicate in England. Transaction level loyalty card data was acquired from a national high street retailer for England for 2012–2014. We calculated the proportion of loyalty card customers (n ~ 10 million) within Lower Super Output Areas who purchased the following medicines: ‘coughs and colds’, ‘Hayfever’, ‘pain relief’ and ‘sun preps’. Machine learning was used to explore how 50 sociodemographic and health accessibility features were associated towards explaining purchasing of each product group. Random Forests are used as a baseline and Gradient Boosting as our final model. Our results showed that pain relief was the most common medicine purchased. There was little difference in purchasing behaviours by sex other than for sun preps. The gradient boosting models demonstrated that socioeconomic status of areas, as well as air pollution, were important predictors of each medicine. Our study adds to the self-medication literature through demonstrating the usefulness of loyalty card records for producing insights about how self-medication varies at the national level. Big data offer novel insights that add to and address issues that traditional studies are unable to consider. New forms of data through data linkage may offer opportunities to improve current public health decision making surrounding at risk population groups within self-medication behaviours.

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<![CDATA[Why do ambulance services have different non-transport rates? A national cross sectional study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bae98e440307c0c23a1c14b

Background

Some patients calling ambulance services (known as Emergency Medical Services internationally) are not transported to hospital. In England, national ambulance quality indicators show considerable variation in non-transport rates between the ten large regional ambulance services. The aim of this study was to explain variation between ambulance services in two types of non-transport: discharge at scene and telephone advice.

Methods

Mixed model logistic regressions using one month of data (November 2014) from the Computer Aided Despatch systems of the ten large regional ambulance services in England.

Results

41% (251 677/615 815) of patients calling ambulance services were not transported to hospital. Most were discharged at scene after attendance by an ambulance (29% n = 182 479) and a small percentage were given telephone advice (7% n = 40 679). Discharge at scene rates varied by patient-level factors e.g. they were higher for elderly patients, where the reason for calling was falls, and for patients attended by paramedics with extended skills. These patient-level factors did not explain variation between ambulance services. After adjustment for patient-level factors, the following ambulance service level factors explained variation in discharge at scene rates: proportion of patients attended by paramedics with extended skills (odds ratio 1.05 (95% CI 1.04, 1.07)), the perception of ambulance service staff that paramedics with extended skills were established and valued within the workforce (odds ratio 1.84 (1.45, 2.33), and the perception of ambulance service staff that senior management viewed non-transport as risky (odds ratio 0.78 (0.63, 0.98)). Variation in telephone advice rates could not be explained.

Conclusions

Variation in discharge at scene rates was explained by differences in workforce configuration and managerial motivation, factors that are largely modifiable by ambulance services.

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<![CDATA[Should prevention of falls start earlier? Co-ordinated analyses of harmonised data on falls in middle-aged adults across four population-based cohort studies]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b8687e540307c73f6bbfec7

The prevalence of risk factors for falls increases during middle-age, but the prevalence of falls in this age-range is often overlooked and understudied. The aim was to calculate the prevalence of falls in middle-aged adults (aged 40–64 years) from four countries.

Data were from four population-based cohort studies from Australia (Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, n = 10556, 100% women, 51–58 years in 2004), Ireland (The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, n = 4968, 57.5% women, 40–64 years in 2010), the Netherlands (Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, n = 862, 51.6% women, 55–64 years in 2012–13) and Great Britain (MRC National Survey of Health and Development, n = 2821, 50.9% women, 53 years in 1999). In each study, falls assessment was based on recall of any falls in the past year. The prevalence of falls was calculated for the total group, for each country, for men and women separately, and for 5-year age-bands. The prevalence was higher in Australia (27.8%, women only) and the Netherlands (25.1%) than in Ireland (17.6%) and Great Britain (17.8%, p<0.001). Women (27.0%) had higher prevalences than men (15.2%, p<0.001). The prevalence increased from 8.7% in 40–44 year olds to 29.9% in 60–64 year olds in women, and from 14.7% in 45–49 year olds to 15.7% in 60–64 year olds in men. Even within 5-year age-bands, there was substantial variation in prevalence between the four cohorts. Weighting for age, sex and education changed the prevalence estimates by less than 2 percentage points.

The sharp increase in prevalence of falls in middle-age, particularly among women supports the notion that falls are not just a problem of old age, and that middle-age may be a critical life stage for preventive interventions.

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<![CDATA[Measuring high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T blood concentration in population surveys]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdcba8

Introduction

The blood test for high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (HS-CTnT) has been proposed as a marker of cardiovascular risk in the general population, as it is associated with subsequent incidence of cardiovascular events and mortality. We aimed at evaluating the feasibility of HS-CTnT testing within large nationally-representative population surveys in which blood samples are collected during household visits, shipped using the standard civil postal service, and then frozen for subsequent analyses.

Methods

The Health Survey for England (HSE) consists of a series of annual surveys beginning in 1991. It is designed to provide regular information on various aspects of the nation’s health and risk factors. We measured HS-CTnT in the blood of 200 people from the HSE 2016 wave, then froze and stored their blood samples at -40°C for 5–10 weeks, and then thawed and retested them to appreciate the extent of within-person agreement or test-retest reliability of the two measurements.

Results

The Cronbach's Alpha (Scale Reliability Coefficient) and the Interclass Correlation Coefficient (two-way mixed-effects model for consistency of agreement at individual level) were 0.97 (95%CI = 0.96–0.99) and 0.95 (95%CI = 0.94–0.96) respectively. The time delay from blood withdrawal to analysis and storage (1–4 days) did not affect the results, nor did the freezing time before the retest (5–10 weeks).

Conclusion

The measurement of HS-CTnT plasma concentration within large nationally-representative surveys such as the Health Survey for England is feasible.

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<![CDATA[Corkscrew Seals: Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus) Infanticide and Cannibalism May Indicate the Cause of Spiral Lacerations in Seals]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da81ab0ee8fa60b9add0

Large numbers of dead seals with characteristic spiral lesions have been washing ashore around the North Atlantic over the past two decades. Interactions with ship propellers and shark predation have been suggested as the likely causal mechanisms. However, new evidence points towards a more likely candidate: grey seal predation. An adult male grey seal was observed and recorded catching, killing and eating five weaned grey seal pups over a period of one week on the Isle of May, Scotland. A further 9 carcasses found in the same area exhibited similar injuries. Post mortem analysis of lesions indicated the wound characteristics were similar to each other and in 12 of the 14 carcasses analysed, were indistinguishable from carcasses previously attributed to propeller interaction. We therefore propose that most of the seal carcasses displaying spiral lacerations in the UK are caused by grey seal predation. Cases in other locations should be re-evaluated using the scoring system presented here to identify whether grey seal predation is a major cause of mortality in phocid seals.

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<![CDATA[Childhood Environment Influences Adrenarcheal Timing among First-Generation Bangladeshi Migrant Girls to the UK]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db48ab0ee8fa60bd92dc

Background

Adrenarche is a key early life event that marks middle childhood at approximately 7 years of age. Earlier work with British-Bangladeshi migrant women suggested that environmental conditions experienced before adrenarche influence adult reproductive function. We therefore investigated whether Bangladeshi children who migrate to the United Kingdom (UK) reach adrenarche earlier than non-migrants in Bangladesh or the United Kingdom.

Methods and Findings

Healthy girls, aged 5–16 years, were recruited from schools in Sylhet, Bangladesh and London, England comprising four groups: Sylhetis (n = 165), first-generation migrants to the United Kingdom (n = 42), second-generation girls (n = 162), and British girls of European origin (n = 50). Anthropometric measurements were collected together with questionnaire data for migration and socioeconomic characteristics. Saliva samples were assayed for dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEAS) using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Multiple linear regressions tested for group differences in anthropometric and socioeconomic variables and DHEAS levels. Median ages at adrenarche (DHEAS>400 pg/ml) were estimated using Weibull regression models for parametric survival analysis. Hazard ratios for reaching adrenarche earlier and 95% confidence intervals (CI), both unadjusted and adjusted for anthropometric variables, were estimated from the survival analyses. First-generation migrants had a median age at adrenarche (5.3 years) that was significantly earlier than Sylheti (7.2), second-generation (7.4), and European (7.1) girls. In univariate analyses, first-generation girls reached adrenarche significantly earlier than Sylhetis [HR (CI): 2.8 (1.4–5.5]. In multivariate models, first generation girls still reached adrenarche earlier than Sylhetis after adjusting for height [HR(CI): 1.9 (0.9–4.1)] and weight [HR(CI):1.7 (0.8–3.8)], but these results were attenuated.

Conclusions

We suggest that rapid catch-up growth experienced by first generation girls during early childhood may explain their advanced adrenarche. The environmental conditions leading to an earlier adrenarche, as well as the health implications of this early transition, merit further exploration.

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<![CDATA[Drug therapy for alcohol dependence in primary care in the UK: A Clinical Practice Research Datalink study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdbfbc

Aim

To evaluate drug therapy for alcohol dependence in the 12 months after first diagnosis in UK primary care.

Design

Open cohort study.

Setting

General practices contributing data to the UK Clinical Practice Research Database.

Participants

39,980 people with an incident diagnosis of alcohol dependence aged 16 years or older between 1 January 1990 and 31 December 2013.

Main outcome measure

Use of pharmacotherapy (acamprosate, disulfiram, naltrexone, baclofen and topiramate) to promote abstinence from alcohol or reduce drinking to safe levels in the first 12 months after a recorded diagnosis of alcohol dependence.

Findings

Only 4,677 (11.7%) of the cohort received relevant pharmacotherapy in the 12 months following diagnosis. Of the 35,303 that did not receive pharmacotherapy, 3,255 (9.2%) received psychosocial support. The remaining 32,048 (80.2%) did not receive either mode of treatment in the first 12 months. Factors that independently reduced the likelihood of receiving pharmacotherapy included: being male (Odds Ratio [OR] 0.74; 95% CI 0.69 to 0.78); older (65-74 years: OR 0.61; 95% CI 0.49 to 0.77); being from a practice based in the most deprived quintile (OR 0.58; 95% CI 0.53 to 0.64); and being located in Northern Ireland (OR 0.78; 95% CI 0.67 to 0.91). The median duration to initiation of pharmacotherapy was 0.80 months (95% CI 0.70 to 1.00) for acamprosate and 0.60 months (95% CI 0.43 to 0.73) for disulfiram. Persistence analysis for those receiving acamprosate and disulfiram revealed that many patients never received a repeat prescription; persistence at 6 months was 27.7% for acomprosate and 33.2% for disulfiram. The median duration of therapy was 2.10 months (95% CI 1.87 to 2.53) for acamprosate and 3.13 months (95% CI 2.77 to 3.36) for disulfiram.

Conclusion

Drug therapy to promote abstinence in alcohol dependent patients was low, with the majority of patients receiving no therapy, either psychological or pharmacological. When drug therapy was prescribed, persistence was low with most patients receiving only one prescription. Our data show that treatment for alcohol dependence is haphazard, and there is an urgent need to explore strategies for improving clinical management of this patient group.

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